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Alberto De Martino
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Enrico Maria Salerno
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My god, this film is a piece of work. Rough as a bag of spanners. One of the ugliest and sleaziest giallos you could ever hope to see. Plot wise there is very little to say, the impact in this film comes from its audacious insistence on making everything look as unpleasant as possible.
But let me give you a quick plat re-cap. Two dead bodies are found at the edge of a canal in Venice. The police start asking friends of the late couple for clues, but as soon as they start their investigations, more dead bodies start piling up. What is the connection, and out of all the unsavoury characters that appear on the screen, does any of them have a clear alibi (or conscience)?
Enough of that then, what is really so bad about Giallo A Venezia? Well it's just that the sleaze factor is so high it's off the scale. The dead couple are at the centre of the plot, and the film consists of many flashbacks in which we see how the husband took pleasure in humiliating and sexually abusing his timid wife. The poor actress who plays Flavia (the wife) suffers the indignity of being stripped naked and roughed up in nearly every scene she appears...I hope she got paid well. Worse still, her husband Fabio is not blessed looks-wise, and add this to the fact that the sex scenes between the pair of them are completely devoid of chemistry makes watching them a real chore and they go on for AGES!! You'll see a lot of Flavia naked which might have looked nicer if things were better filmed but the whole thing is done so sloppily that a lot of the time it's just not that exciting. Especially when Fabio is slobbering all over her (he's a really terrible kisser!) and trying to roll all over the place without showing his private bits, whereas of course there's no modesty allowed for his wife who is shown very graphically naked in several scenes.
The reason why I have had to devote a full paragraph to describing the sex scenes is because that's really all that happens for 75% of the films running time! Other than that, we have to sit through the police force carrying out their investigations which is kinda boring, even with the running gag of the main inspector eating hard boiled eggs in every scene (why? who knows... It must be an Italian thing), and some half hearted attempts by director Mario Landi to spin a web of mystery around the proceedings.
So that just leaves ...the murders. And just as he manages to make all the sex scenes ugly, unpleasant and graphic, Landi cuts no corners with the violence either. So prepare yourself for some very grim scenes of violence. Although the scenes are not dwelled on in loving detail like they are in a Lucio Fulci gore flick, they all seem to have a very nasty flavour to them. Scissor stabbings to the crotch and a human torch are two that spring to mind. Oh wait, did I say the gore is not dwelled on? Sorry I forgot the film's gore "highlight' in which victim has their leg sawed off while tied to the kitchen table. I have seen a lot of graphic gore but I found this intensely unpleasant. I think it's because it's just all sort of...thrown at you. No artistry to speak of, just events.
This film has absolutely no class whatsoever. And if you get a kick out of sleaze, it's almost possible to appreciate it on that level alone, but anyone with any taste in good cinema is likely to be left shaking their head in disbelief. Very hard to find - at time of writing there is no DVD or VHS release in print, so you're stuck with finding bootlegs if you want to track this down, and even then I believe it was originally released in Italian only so make sure you get a subtitled copy if you must seek this out! A bleak, bizarre and depressing piece of grime, it's very hard to be positive about this movie. Even calling it a giallo is an insult to that genre, as the "whodunnit" value is very weak. Its just 90 minutes of bad simulated sex and some equally badly simulated murders, but if the phrase "in your face" was ever deserved, it is here.
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